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No longer just "The Ticket": Gordo flies solo with Belo

Gordon Keith gets a big push; weatherman Pete Delkus plays along.

At least Belo Corporation's trying to loosen its corset a bit.

Irrefutable proof is The Gordon Keith Show, which premiered Thursday night at 10 on Belo8's baby brother, KFWD-TV (Channel 52). It's undoubtedly the company's first presentation to use the words, "Keepin' yo' ass in stitches." Does imperial Belo boss of bosses Robert W. Decherd even know this program is on? If not, don't tell him.

Keith is best known as the knuckleballing comedy relief pitcher on "The Ticket's" (1310 AM) Dunham and Miller morning drive program. His humor can be an acquired taste, but many have acquired it. Now he's takin' it to TV after being duly crowned in a cover story by Belo-owned Quick, for which Keith writes a weekly column.

Keith's first half-hour show, from the gleaming new Victory Park studios, had the rough-hewn feel of a well-earned hangover. Or something like that.

It began with a comedy caper involving Belo8 station manager Mike Devlin. He ranted at Keith about the show's inflated budget before climbing over his desk to chase the underling out of his office. This scene likely has been replicated several times in real life, so Devlin carried it off reasonably well.

Keith wound up on the air anyway, and he liked his new surroundings.

"It's a testament to man's abililty to engineer and a corporation's ability to spend," he marveled after welcoming his literal "audience of two," a young man and woman.

They weren't much of an audience, leaving the host to throw out one-liners into a void. Keith could have used Belo8 anchor Gloria Campos, a good, boisterous laugher who simply could have pretended he was Dale Hansen.

Opening night's highlight was the "Delkus Cam," described on WFAA.com as a "seedy portal into the life of America's favorite weatherman." Caught in the act of being himself, Pete Delkus primped into a compact mirror, clipped his toenails and worked out with miniature barbells among other things.

"It's really sickening to see your heroes fall like this," Keith cracked. But let's give Delkus credit for having more ham in him than the Iowa State Fair.

Keith's featured taped bit took him to Farmer's Branch, lately known as being highly inhospitable to illegal immigrants. Here's where he got away with tons of stuff that could never be broadcast or printed within the confines of any other Belo property.

An elderly man who said he was Brazilian had a hard time convincing Keith he wasn't Hispanic. "Are the spines different?" he wondered.

A young woman who spoke broken English -- Keith's favorite language -- was jokingly threatened with deportation.

"Where are your papers?" he asked.

Keith later pressed an aging white woman for answers.

If all illegals are evicted, "Who will water our lawns? Who will pour our concrete?"

"I have no earthly idea," she blubbered. Generic Mariachi music played throughout.

Keith's very special guests, the Dallas band Radiant, were welcomed to the studio's "love seat of love." They recently played on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live and tried to play along with their host. But the segment never picked up speed and ultimately played dead. It was funny, however, to see Keith encounter a barechested, pot-bellied cameraman enroute to the love seat of love.

Viewers are being encouraged to send in their own videos for future airplay. Keith offered one for starters, a "munkybutter" short in which a Dad inadvertently knocked his kid's head off with a baseball bat.

Then came the big finish, Gordo's annual reading of Valentines sent to "the 30 women that I stalk." Sample sentiment: "Anyone can get a tattoo. But a branding iron really says you're mine."

Keith signed off by urging viewers to "remember my signature catchphrase -- goodnight."

His show wasn't all that good for starters, but these things can take time. Keith is a very inventive guy, which he'll tell you. But seriously, let's give him a chance to find his way and let's hope that Belo will let him find it.

His announced guest next week is Dallas police chief David Kunkle, also known as Mr. Sarah Dodd. Sprinkle in a few more "Delkus Cam" highlights and it could be quite a show.